Fatty liver disease is a condition that occurs when there is too much fat in the liver. This can happen for a number of reasons, including obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and excessive alcohol consumption.
There are two main types of fatty liver disease:
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common type of fatty liver disease. It occurs in people who do not drink alcohol excessively.
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) occurs in people who drink large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time.
How is fatty liver disease diagnosed?
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Fatty liver disease is often diagnosed during a routine physical exam. The doctor may feel your liver for any enlargement or tenderness. They may also order blood tests to check your liver function and cholesterol levels.
In some cases, the doctor may recommend an ultrasound or other imaging test to get a closer look at your liver.
What are the complications of fatty liver disease?
In most cases, fatty liver disease does not cause any symptoms. However, if the condition progresses, it can lead to a number of complications, including:
- Cirrhosis is a scarring of the liver that can lead to liver failure.
- Liver cancer is a rare complication of fatty liver disease.
- Heart disease
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What is the life expectancy with fatty liver disease?
The life expectancy with fatty liver disease varies depending on the severity of the disease and the presence of other health conditions. However, studies have shown that people with fatty liver disease have a shorter life expectancy than people without the condition.
A study published in the journal Hepatology found that people with NAFLD had a life expectancy that was 4.6 years shorter than people without the condition. The study also found that the risk of death from all causes was increased by 30% in people with NAFLD.
Another study, published in the journal Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, found that people with NASH had a life expectancy that was 11.3 years shorter than people without the condition. The study also found that the risk of death from liver-related causes was increased by 100% in people with NASH.
|Type of fatty liver disease||Life expectancy|
|Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)||4.6 years shorter than people without the condition|
|Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)||11.3 years shorter than people without the condition|
It is important to note that these studies were observational, which means that they cannot prove that fatty liver disease causes a shorter life expectancy. However, the findings of these studies suggest that fatty liver disease is a serious condition that can shorten life expectancy.
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How can I improve my life expectancy with fatty liver disease?
If you have fatty liver disease, there are a number of things you can do to improve your life expectancy:
- Lose weight Losing even a small amount of weight can help to reduce the amount of fat in your liver.
- Eat a healthy diet A healthy diet for people with fatty liver disease includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is also important to limit your intake of saturated and unhealthy fats.
- Exercise regularly Exercise helps to reduce inflammation and improve liver function. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- Quit smoking Smoking damages the liver and can worsen fatty liver disease.
- Manage your other health conditions If you have other health conditions, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, it is important to manage them well. This can help to reduce your risk of complications from fatty liver disease.
If you have fatty liver disease, it is important to talk to your doctor about your treatment options. With early diagnosis and treatment, you can improve your life expectancy and prevent serious complications.